Category Archives: Coking

Australia: Coking coal prices continue rising on firm ex-China demand

Australian premium hard coking coal prices continued to increase over the past week, with several high-priced spot trades concluded in the ex-China markets, while on-spot availability of premium cargoes remained tight.

Even as the demand for Australian coking coal has been persistently high in most Asian markets excluding China, the Indian demand for seaborne coking coal has lately remained largely subdued, primarily because both steel demand and metallurgical coke prices are declining due to the prevalence of the monsoon season.

Meanwhile, ongoing safety checks and suspension of operations at various coal mines in China, coupled with the country’s ongoing import restrictions on Australian coals, have fuelled supply concerns among end-users seeking prompt delivery of premium grade coking coal.

 

Price assessments

Premium low-volatile (PLV) hard coking coal (HCC) and 64 Mid Vol HCC grades are assessed at around $212.50/tonne (t) (+0.7% week-on-week) and $184.00/t (+0.7% w-o-w) FOB Hay Point, Australia.

For Indian buyers, these prices amount to $239.40/t (+1.0% w-o-w) and $210.90/t (+1.0% w-o-w) respectively on CNF India basis.

Australia-India dry bulk freight rate is currently assessed at $26.90/t (+3.5% w-o-w) for delivery by Panamax vessel class.

 

Trade deals

A trade 75,000 t of Peak Downs branded Australian PLV HCC was concluded at $207/t FOB, with mid-Aug’21 laycan.

A trade for 35,000 t of Saraji branded Australian PLV HCC was concluded at $200/t FOB on 5 Jul’21, with late-Aug’21 laycan.

Moreover, re-export offers for Australian PLV HCC were reported from several Chinese traders and end-users.

Furthermore, a major European end-user issued a buy tender for Australian Peak Downs North branded premium mid-volatile matter, with an end-Aug’21 laycan.

 

Stock positions at major ports in India

Total coking coal stocks at major Indian ports at the end of last week had increased to 6 million tonnes (mn t), up by 2.61% w-o-w against 5.85 mn t in the previous week.

Presently, coking coal stocks at Paradip port are at 1.76 mn t, down by 3.84% w-o-w; while inventory at Dhamra port is at 1.49 mn t, up 13.92% w-o-w.

Major Indian ports include Gangavaram, Paradip, Mundra, Vizag, Dhamra, Krishnapatnam, Kandla, Haldia, Navlakhi, Magdalla, Hazira, Karaikal, Tuticorin, Dahej, Goa, Jamnagar, Mangalore, Bhavnagar, Kakinada, Muldwaraka and Pipavav.

 

Outlook

Market participants anticipate Australian premium coking coal prices to stay firm on account of limited availability of prompt-loading cargoes for near-term deliveries.

Indian buyers are not expected to resume full-scale restocking in the near term despite the easing of lockdowns in several states, as end-users are presently well-stocked with sufficient inventory levels.

Nevertheless, Indian traders are largely anticipating that the country’s imported coking coal demand would improve to a certain extent due to restocking needs for Q3CY21 after the offset of the monsoons.

 

Anglo American sticks to 14-16 mn t met coal output target for CY’21

Multinational miner Anglo American has maintained its full year production target for metallurgical coal 14-16 mn t in 2021, after the first six months were disrupted by poor demand and development activities. Exportable met coal production was down 25% to 3 mn t during Apr’21-Jun’21, as Queensland’s Grosvenor mine remained temporarily suspended following an accident in May’20.

 
Tata Steel Coal Washery

India: Tata Steel upgrades coal preparation plant at Jharia

Tata Steel has commissioned the state-of-the-art 2 million tonnes per annum (mn t pa) coal preparation plant, by transforming the oldest running coal washery at its Jamadoba colliery in Jharia.

It is pertinent to note that the company’s Jharia division has a leasehold area of 5,500 acres across two colliery groups — Jamadoba and Sijua — wherein the coal mining and washery plants are operated.

The advanced beneficiation plant would not only address issues like productivity, safety and environment but at the same time ensure production of washed coal at a competitive price for the company.

Salient features

The existing washery is in operation since 1952 which has been upgraded to one of the most modern washeries by incorporating dense media cyclone circuit for coarse, intermediate circuit for reflux classifier and flotation for fines circuit to improve production efficiency.

Besides, this is the first washery in the country with 100% dewatering facility built within the plant, thereby completely eliminating the need for tailing pond, auto sprinklers and dry fog systems.

The new set-up also comes along with a 400 kilovolt-ampere (kVA) uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for main mechanical ventilator which provides power back-up to the mine fan in case of power failure. Notably, this facet is the first of its kind in the country for any mine ventilation fan.

The company meets 100% of its iron ore requirements in India through its captive iron ore mines, but only a quarter of its coking coal requirements are catered through the captive coal mines.

In the year 2020-21, coking coal washeries of Tata Steel had achieved 53% yield of washed coal, which is expected to improve gradually in tandem with the mechanisation and modernisation programme kept in place.